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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Middleburgh Library's October Event Schedule

Written By Editor on 9/20/16 | 9/20/16

Schoharie News - October 2016

10/1 - 3:00 PM to ? - Board Games for Adults - Come and join us for some fun and different board games

10/4, 11, 18, 25  - 10:45 AM - Drop-in Storytime - Get ready to move in this interactive storytime designed especially for children ages 0-5 and their caregivers. We'll read books, sing songs, recite fingerplays, dance and watch a short movie based on a weekly theme. No registration required.

10/4, 11, 18, 25  - 1:00 PM - Mahjong Mania - Every Tuesday afternoon at 1:00 a spirited group of people get together in the Community Room to play Mahjong.  Don't know how to play?  No problem!  They will teach you how.  No registration required.

10/4, 11, 18, 25  - 5:15 PM - Insight Meditation - Join us for a simple group Zazen meditation practice.  All are welcome.  No registration required.

10/5, 12, 19, 26 - 9:00 AM - Chair Yoga -  With Vicki DeGroff.  Donation $5.00.  Chair yoga is a gentle form of yoga that is practiced sitting on a chair, or standing using a chair for support.   Please use back entrance.

10/5, 12, 19, 26 - 11:00 AM - Discovery Wednesdays -    
10/5 - You never know what Miss Andrea will come up with in her discovery Wednesday!  Art, science, stories and more in this interactive program for ages 3 and up and their caregivers.  Registration Required.
10/12 - Join Miss Doreen as she welcomes children ages 3-6 to her storytime.  Lots of fun with stories, songs, fingerplays and a craft!  No registration required.
10/19 - You never know what Miss Andrea will come up with in her discovery Wednesday!  Art, science, stories and more in this interactive program for ages 3 and up and their caregivers.  Registration Required.
10/26 - Join Miss Doreen as she welcomes children ages 3-6 to her storytime.  Lots of fun with stories, songs, fingerplays and a craft!  No registration required.

10/5, 12, 19, 26 - 1:00 PM - Wednesday Matinee - Free Popcorn
10/5 -   "Ithaca"  (PG)
10/12 - "The Man Who Knew Infinity"  (PG-13)
10/19 - "10 Cloverfield Lane" - (PG-13)
10/26 - "The Legend of Tarzan"  (PG-13)

10/5 & 19  – 5:00 PM - Kundalini Yoga - Kundalini Yoga involves repetitive movements with the breath, building strength, toning the nerves and clearing the adrenal glands.   Wear comfortable clothing and bring 2 blankets or a mat and blanket. A $5.00 donation is requested. Please use the back entrance when entering the building.  No registration required.

10/6 - 7:00 PM - Concert - Tom Prasada-Rao -    is a musician's musician - an unassuming presence on the folk scene since the early nineties. His voice belies his musicianship and his extraordinary songs. From Rishi’s Garden with its homage to Ravi Shankar to the groove of Sleeping Beauty , Tom’s music is melodic, ambitious, and reverent. He's starting to tour again after being featured last year on the nationally syndicated TV show Troubadour Texas. Suggested donation is $10.00.  Please use back entrance.

10/6, 13, 20, 27  - 7:00 PM – Knitting Circle - These friendly ladies (men are welcome, but we haven't seen any yet!) knit and crochet, embroider and quilt, and more. You can learn a new skill here or share your own special talents with others - or just craft in the company of friends. Drop in anytime! No registration required.  

10/7 - 7:00 PM - Stroll the Souls of the Middleburgh Cemetery with Wes Laraway - A town settled over 300 years ago with stories of fallen soldiers, settlers and town’s folk as the lands were bitterly fought over for power, the Middleburgh Cemetery holds these and many other souls.  Timothy Murphy whose bones lie at rest on these grounds.    over looking Vroman’s Nose will be explored by lantern-light with local historian, Wes Laraway. Dress warmly, bring a flashlight and your courage. Only $10 per person! GET YOUR TICKETS:

10/10 - Columbus Day - The library will be closed to observe the holiday.

10/10– 6:30 PM – Board of Trustees Meeting - Our meetings are open to the public.  Please join us!  The holiday does not affect the board meeting.  Please use back entrance.

10/15 - 1:00 PM - Book Discussion - "The Nightingale" by Kristen Hannah - Viann and Isabelle have always been close despite their differences. Younger, bolder sister Isabelle lives in Paris while Viann lives a quiet and content life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter..  Books are available at the circulation desk.  No registration is required

10/15 - 5:00 PM - 3rd Annual Zombie Run - We've plotted a new course for our runners and walkers to enjoy while you avoid being Zombie Meat! Each Human wears a health belt along with two Velcro flags.  Sign up for this epic event at:  Registration begins at 3:00 and the run starts at 5:00.

10/15 - 7:00 PM - Haunted Scarriage House - Directly following the Zombie Run, take a trip through the Haunted Scarriage House.....Food, Vendors, Music and other items available for purchase.  Festive Family Fun for All! 
FREE!  Right at the Dr. Best Museum! 
10/17 - 2:00 PM - Adult Coloring Club - Come and experience the latest trend in relaxation, adult coloring books! Studies how coloring can have a calming effect on the adult mind and helps promote overall wellness. Coloring pages designed especially for adults as well as colored pencils will be provided.   This will be a recurring program. We will meet every 3rd Monday of the month at 2pm.   Registration is required.  
10/20 - 6:30 PM - The Truth About the Salem Witch Trials -   It wasn't about women in black robes, chanting in a circle and then burning victims at the stake. Discover the various social, economic and political theories behind this unusual historic event. Meet the principle teenage girls, their families and the ultimate decisions they made that cemented a town's place in history and the tourism industry. Registration is required.

10/21 - 5:30 - Dinner & A Movie - "Star Trek Beyond"  (PG-13) - Join us for our popular dinner & a movie!  The library supplies pizza and drinks and you bring dessert or a snack to share.
The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.  Please note that this film is rated PG-13 and although great for teens and families, it is not appropriate for very young children.  Registration is required. 

10/22 & 29 - 11:00 AM - Poetry as Walking facilitated by James Bellflower - From Wordsworth to contemporary poet, Lisa Robertson, and others who walked, we will read and write about what we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Through walking we’ll tie the rhythm of the foot to the measure of our lines and come to understand that writing is an ongoing discovery of what is around and within us. Novice and experienced writers are welcome.  Registration is required.

10/22 - 1:00 PM - Cooking by the Vegan Book - "The Vegan Zombie" - The Middleburgh Library is happy to introduce its newest book club, "Cooking by the Vegan Book."  We pick the cookbook, you pick and make the recipe! 
The book club is free and open to the public.  How the cookbook club works:  Every month, a cookbook will be selected and will be at the circulation desk for you to peak at and we'll print up a recipe of your choice. Sign up online or register at the circulation desk, let us know what you are cooking so we don't have duplicates!  Bring your dish to share and a place setting to the club and enjoy!  Registration is required.

10/25 - 6:00 PM - "Know the 10 Signs of Alzheimer's" - Early Detection Matters- The warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease are often dismissed as inevitable parts of normal aging. If you or someone you know is experiencing memory loss or behavioral changes, it’s time to learn the facts.  Registration is suggested.

10/26 - 4:00 PM - Halloween Craftermoon - Join us while we clean out the craft cupboards, kids will let their imaginations lose and create amazing Halloween crafts! Let's see what you can come up with! 
This program is appropriate for children in pre-school thru 6th grade.  Registration is required.

10/26 - 5:30 PM - Halloween:  Minute to Win it - Hey Teens! Come on out for an evening of Halloween themed Minute to Win it games, pizza, and laughs! Are you up for the challenge? This program is open to kids ages 12 and up. Registration is required. 

10/29 - 11:00 - 1:00 PM - In one Breath - Watercolor with Joanne Resch -  Techniques of traditional watercolor and Chinese Brush painting will be woven together to offer relaxation and release stress. Several small pieces will be completed by each participant as principles of design, composition, color and watercolor will be demonstrated. Beginning or intermediate adults are welcome.  Registration is required.
This program series is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Sponsored by the Mohawk Valley Library System and participating member libraries. All programs are free. Materials will be provided. Participating libraries are accessible for people with disabilities.

Please check our Calendar on our website at for future programs.

Conesville History Lecture Sunday

Conesville's Early Days lecture led by Beatrice Mattice, the Conesville Town Historian. The event is at Conesville United Methodist Chapel Church (1295 State Route 990V), on Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 4pm. The event is described as a "lecture on Conesville's history including how people lived, who lived here, where they lived, and how the community has changed over time." For more information please contact

New Middleburgh Stewart's Seeing Fast Activity

Written By Editor on 9/19/16 | 9/19/16

Photos and Article by Sheila Donegan

Many in the village of Middleburgh did not want to see the old Dentistry Building demolished. It dates back to the late 1800s. But, the Chiropractic Building had problems that were not worth the financial commitment to repair, and ARC already left at the end of their lease. It was definitely time for that structure to come down. These properties will be the home of the new Stewart's store. In a phone interview I had with Chuck Marshall, representing the store, he said, “It has definitely been a process, in every particular, but the improvements will mean that the bank and Stewart's will be able to provide better customer service.” The store is expected to open late in November.

Dentist building during 2014 October Fall Festival Parade

Facing the Village Hall during demolition in July

At the monthly meeting of the Middleburgh Village Board, Mr. Marshall outlined some of the details of the project. The NBT Bank will also be demolished. Things are being scaled down since they don't need all of the space they are currently using. There are arrangements to continue service.
Chiropractor prior to demolition
Not only will Stewart’s be using some of the bank property, but also has been granted easements over the Bassett and pool area parking lots. In addition to all of these changes, a frequently raised issue is being resolved. Handicapped accessibility into the Village Office Building will be constructed.

Strong Thunderstorm, Wind Warning Over Schoharie County

From the National Weather Service below. For more information, including the current radar, please check out our always updated weather page.







LAT...LON 4269 7418 4243 7393 4227 7446 4229 7447
4235 7443 4239 7454 4249 7460
TIME...MOT...LOC 0426Z 235DEG 28KT 4241 7441

The Schoharie News is Going to Print October 21st

Written By Editor on 9/18/16 | 9/18/16

By Matthew Avitabile

I've lived in this county as far back as I remember. I've seen ups and downs, and am glad to have played a role in building toward where our county can be. My roots are here, my family is here, and I believe our common destiny is rooted in our efforts. Together with dedicated volunteers and business leaders Middleburgh and other parts of the area have seen a renaissance-- one that I believe can be grown throughout the county.

In short, I want to do to local media what we did for Middleburgh.

Earlier this month I purchased the Schoharie News to give our county's residents a choice. I've decided not to run for another term as Mayor and built a team ready to cover the entire county's events. We've opened an office in Schoharie to be more responsive to residents and hold public officials to account.

I come with connections but no biases. Expect hard-hitting investigations and features meant to focus on issues that are currently ignored. To start, I don't plan on taking a salary. I'm hoping to reinvest our funds to grow our joint efforts. I hope that you can be a part of this effort to shine a light on many issues affecting the county and their potential solutions.

The Schoharie News asks for your help. The first print edition will hit the presses on Friday, October 21st. The first two issues will be mailed to every household and business in Schoharie County. Our page has information on subscriptions and advertising. Both mailed and online subscriptions are available. We would love your press releases, ideas, and suggestions to make this endeavor a success for all of us.

I hope you'll join our effort.

Matthew Avitabile

County Board Adds Investigator to Combat Heroin, Asks Cuomo to Declare State of Emergency

The County Board of Supervisors made two major steps to combating the rising tide of heroin abuse in Schoharie County. Sheriff Tony Desmond implored the board members to provide funding for a new position to fight heroin's spread.

Sheriff Desmond requested that the board hire an investigator. The Personnel and Finance Committee earlier decided to defer a decision until more information was found. The Committee requested this delay to determine if other factors were needed, including  Mental Health, Social Services and Probation.

The Board members voted to give Sheriff Desmond authority to hire the investigator. Supervisor Bill Federice from Conesville asked if the county should request additional support from the state. He then read a draft letter for Governor Cuomo to attack the heroin epidemic in similar scale as the state did Hurricanes Irene and Sandy.

The letter, sent to the Schoharie News, describes the issue as, "Heroin addiction and the crime which comes with it has become the number one issue in upstate New York." There is a request for, "Immediate and substantial increases in resources for drug counseling, rehabilityation, mental health assistance, law enforcement, first responders, and especially drug education in our school."

Supervisor Federice's letter highlighted many issues faced by local governments: "Many of our communities are struggling with an ever increasing tax burden on our citizens while trying to meet the tax cap. This is unsustainable."

The letter closes with an forceful tone: "Anything less than an all-out commitment by New York State will prove to be insufficient."

The entire Board of Supervisors signed the letter, which will be sent to the Governor.

SUNY Cobleskill Unveils Budget and Enrollment Projections

Written By Editor on 9/17/16 | 9/17/16

By Tyler James

SUNY Cobleskill President Marion Terenzio unveiled a look at SUNY Cobleskill’s budget and enrollment figures and projections. The new President plans a number of reforms to increase student retention and improve student services. Dr. Terenzio sent her thoughts in a letter to campus faculty and staff.

The efforts are part of the efforts to make SUNY Cobleskill a Destination College. In the letter, President Terenzio states that the college is part way on its path to this goal.

Cobleskill’s budget was described as “shrinking” and affecting parts of the college’s functions. Overall, the college’s enrollment has fallen 9% since 2014. Of all college revenue, 21% comes from state support. This percentage is projected to decline. Tuition represents 47% of all revenues, which is expected to increase as the college implements its strategies.

The college has been able to increase its returning students in the next year with slight declines in transfers and freshman students as seen below.

As a result of these cumulative factors the 2016-2017 is $1 million lower than the previous year. Tuition received in the 2015-2016 was a half million under projections. Tuition rates for students did not increase this year. Original projections factored in such an increase.

Terenzio lauded an effort by faculty and staff to quantify student concerns and aid in convincing students to return. Offices on campus cooperated on this endeavor. This reduced red tape and paperwork for students before they began classes in August.

The president ran down issues that affected decision making and budgeting. This included the fact that 80% of all funds go to personnel costs and 10% for utilities. Only about $2.5 million of the budget can be actively changed.

Dr. Terenzio outlined a series of proposals to aid the school’s budget. These included working with other organizations to share costs and expanding credentialing. The school also seeks to develop summer programs, including cooperation with local groups and camps. Cobleskill also looks to expand and refine its marketing efforts. The President requested an expansion of programs for students, including online coursework.

September Board of Supervisors Meeting Highlights

Written By Editor on 9/16/16 | 9/16/16

Photo and article by Tyler James

The Board heard a presentation about the Sheriff's Department's new anti-DWI initative. There was also a report on the progress on the creek projects.

Melinda McTaggart briefly spoke to the Board about Cornell Cooperative Extension. The Board passed a proclamation of appreciation for the organization's assistance to the county, especially its youth projects. This included projects such as 4-H, which is one of the largest youth organizations in the state. The Board declared October 2-8th as 4-H month. Chair Earl Van Wormer thanked the organization.

The Schoharie County Conservation Association discussed possible new land use ideas. One idea is to construct a potential land bank. Another is a "Zombie Property" law in which banks that held vacant property could be fined for not taking care of them. Such an act would not affect local ownership. The organization has been working with the County Planning Department on potential options.

Supervisor Tague asked for a brief recess for Republican members of the Board to caucus. This took about 40 minutes.

Richmondville Supervisor Dick Lape discussed a possible new bridge project in Richmondville. He highlighted $2 million in funding acquired by Mayor Kevin Neary to fix the bridge.

Another presentation discussed the Blenheim Bridge rebuilding project. There was also a lengthy update on the creek mitigation project. The County Board also voted to withdraw from the proposed Seebold property for the jail site. Treasurer and flood recovery coordinator Cherry reported that the county building floodgate project was on time and budget. The report stated that 90% of the footings and well foundations have already been poured.

Board Withdraws from Seebold Jail Location

By Tyler James

Treasurer and flood recovery coordinator Bill Cherry gave an update on the jail and public safety facility project. He read a memo received from LaBella Associates on September 12th, the engineers wrote about new geotechnical surveys regarding the jail site. The reports show that there were several factors that may have been solvable on their own but together made the Seebold location untenable. This included archaeological sites expected to turn up historical artifacts. Cherry said that the project would need to be within about ten miles of the county courthouse and have municipal water and sewer. Cherry provided a written report to the board members, including a number of recommended jail sites that met the above checks.

Supervisor Tague asked if Sheriff Desmond was consulted on the site. Cherry replied that Undersheriff Ron Stevens was often a part of the flood recovery committee and that the Sheriff was in constant contact.

Sheriff Desmond stood and reported on concerns over the project. He stated that he was there during much of the sampling projects. The Sheriff said that he opposed placing it in Cobleskill because there are three departments in Cobleskill already. He said that instead the jail and public safety facilty should be placed closer to Middleburgh in order to assist residents in the southern part of the county that have a smaller police presence currently. He added that such a location could help bring a police presence to Conesville and Blenheim.

"How important is it that the facility be as close to the courthouse as possible?" asked Supervisor Tague of Schoharie. The Sheriff replied, "Very important." He added, "I don't think a location five or six miles down the road" would hurt the ability to bring individuals to the courthouse.

Supervisor Tague said that he hoped Treasurer Cherry would work with the Sheriff, Undersheriff, and District Attorney. "These are the people that are doing the job every day."

Supervisor Leo McAllister of Cobleskill noted the timeline of the project. "There's a limit on funds," he stated, also citing the project's 42 month timeline. "The fact is that we can't wait a year and a half to make a decision," he stated. The Treasurer agreed, seeking a location with water and sewer. "Extending water and sewer lines is an important piece." He said that the project could be done under budget should a location be found with these.

Supervisor Tague replied by asking the Treasurer whether the decision should be made today. The Treasurer responded yes. Tague then made a motion to exit the Seebold project. Supervisor Skowfoe of Fulton seconded. The County will lose a $5,000 deposit on the property.

Supervisor Pete Coppolo of Middleburgh asked why the project was looked at with a parcel without water or sewer. Treasurer Cherry said that this was not the circumstance at the time, only that there was a possibility that it could be extended over time.

The measure passed unanimously.

Board Reaffirms Blenheim Bridge Project

By Tyler James

The Blenheim Bridge was a major topic of conversation today at the Board of Supervisors meeting. Multiple residents and supervisors opined about the future of the project.

Treasurer Bill Cherry asked the board to give permission for Blenheim Long Term's chair Don Airey to speak. Airey thanked a number of volunteers for work done on behalf of Blenheim and working with the County on the Blenheim Bridge projects. He also thanked members of the flood committee and Cherry for work "behind the scenes" on flood recovery.

Airey described the new Blenheim Bridge project as, "something the County will ultimately benefit from." He stated that surrounding towns would also benefit economically due to the bridge project. He highlighted an individual that preserved many original pieces of the bridge.

Concern was raised about the cost and timeliness of the project by Supervisor Bill Federice of Conesville. He asked what would happen if Blenheim led the project with Schoharie County acting in the background. He praised the residents of the town.

Supervisor Phil Skowfoe of Fulton stated that he has supported the program all along and now that it is "down to the wire," the board should not change course. Supervisor Leo McAllister stated that the course of the project and new cost projections created "concern." Chair Earl VanWormer stated that the southern part of the county could "use a boost in the arm." He said that this project could bring new visitors to the area. He also said that if the money wasn't spent locally it would be used elsewhere and not for the benefit of Schoharie County. McAllister replied by stating that such issues were part of the reason the federal government has a $20 trillion debt.

"What happens if this goes over the $10.2 million budget?" asked Supervisor Chris Tague from Schoharie. He also asked if FEMA would cover any overage. Tague recommended that Blenheim should take on the project on its own.

"You're confusing your streambank project with this project," said Treasurer Cherry. He said that the flood wall project is finishing on time and budget. "With due respect, the flood recovery projects cannot be lumped into," this one. He mentioned that the County Board asked the flood recovery committee unanimously to pursue the Blenheim Bridge's replacement. "FEMA has approved the project. FEMA will cover all the costs of this project," Cherry said. If there were issues beyond the current scope, FEMA would reimburse the county.

"I didn't bring up anything about the streambank project, Bill. I asked you a simple question," Tague replied.

Cherry asked that the County should make a decision today and that if there was to go forward or not, the time for saying so was soon.

"We're not just wasting money. We're bringing money back in," said Supervisor Skowfoe.

Treasurer Cherry was asked what would happen if the county dropped the project at this point. The Treasurer replied that the county would have to pay back $600,000 to the federal government for project costs already spent. Supervisor Shawn Smith of Blenheim said that the Town would assist the county as much as possible.

Supervisor Tague stated that "after the project is done. What we would like to see if the folks of Blenheim own that project... We're not against the project." Tague stated that he believed Cherry did a great job as the flood recovery coordinator and asked again about what would happen if the project went over its budget.

The measure came to a roll call vote to reaffirm support of the project. Of the supervisors, the vote was unanimous except for Supervisor Pete Coppolo of Middleburgh, who voted no.

Creek Project Faces a Variety of Delays, Progress

By Tyler James

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors heard an update on the continuing delays over the post-flood creek mitigation project.

Jim Bridges, representative from McLaren Engineering gave an update on the county's creek project. Much of the discussion revolved around the upper site project close out at Dave Brown Mountain. The group has the final $162,000 funding request from NRCS. He said that this money should be available to the county in the next one or two weeks. There is another $127,000 reimbursement pending from New York State pending completion of the entire project. There would be no penalties from the state if the work completed by the County is not maintained by it.

The lower site is slated for completion soon. The "remediation work was done in July. Completed in August." This included a $362,000 project completion request from the contractor, who should be paid next week. Two change orders slightly modified the project due to different site conditions and to meet regulatory approval. These tally to about $30,000 in costs. There are other reimbursements that are upcoming. In total, this includes about $700,000 in reimbursements pending for the lower site, expected over the next several months.

Another site discussed was Plattekill. The representative stated that there has been work in the last month to move from approval from NRCS for action to a set of plans. There is hope that these changes could save approximately $100,000 in savings for that portion of the process. This process was ongoing and was expecting more comments from the organization in about a week.

The engineering firm is finalizing plans for how the stream cleanup on site will occur in cooperation with Rifenburg construction. "It's very difficult for them to give us a price." There's a cap of $350,000 for such consulting with the expectation that the total should be lower. Approval from DEC could further lower the cost. The representative stated that there was regulatory concern about some work done in 2015 with hope that it can be resolved without cost.

"There is slightly more than $2.2 million in reimbursement available," for the remainder of the project.

Of the projects, the Little Schoharie was described as the "most complicated," in the presentation. Work was described in four sections, denoted by letters. Ridge D, worked during winter 2014-2015 was suspended due to the harshness of the season and then damaged in water runoff in spring 2015. This portion is now completed. Two of the other sections were damaged due to recent water flow in Huntersland. Ridge A has been stalled due to funding issues and due to summer storms. AECOM is currently in "delicate negotiations" to resolve who is responsible for funding.

The final site discussed was Line Creek. This included NRCS concern about the current hydraulic model. New modeling has been done in the last several months and "has taken longer than we wanted." The model is currently undergoing hydraulic calculations. If these are not satisfactory there could be another period of planning required.

All permits are required for reimbursement. "In many cases we don't have the permits in place," for reimbursement. The entire project of reimbursement through different agencies should take significant time.

The last part of the presentation was about the AECOM contract. Supervisor Chris Tague of Schoharie made a motion to enter into executive session. The board unanimously approved the measure, which lasted for about an hour.

Sheriff's Department Launches New Teen DWI Prevention Initiative

By Tyler James

At the Schoharie Board of Supervisors meeting two deputies spoke of a new initiative that the Sheriff's Department worked on to prevent teens from driving while intoxicated. The lively presentation expanded on the effort, which has seen many organizations partner with the Sheriff's Department.

Deputy Bruce Baker was given privilege of the floor to talk about Project CRASH. In the presentation, the Deputy discussed the Sheriff's Department partnership with SCCASA and other groups. The project intends to prevent drunk and ability impaired driving. Baker was introduced by Deputy Zach Reinhart. Deputy Baker said the group, "involved every high school in the county" as well as emergency services. The Deputy thanked a variety of volunteers and officials that assisted in the production. The project created a 30 minute movie that "depicts a two car crash with a fatality." On October 6th every Junior and Senior in high school in the county will be attending the film's screening at SUNY Cobleskill. It will be followed by a presentation from a law firm. Many public officials are invited, including County Administrator Steve Wilson and Assemblyman Lopez. He added that the presentation and film will be placed on SCHOPEG and social media.

"We want the students involved," Baker said. He also added that in the spring there would be another event at the college similar to a health fair that would bring in students from all of the schools in the county. Money raised at the event through sponsorships will be used to fund schools' proms and reduce the risk of unsafe driving afterwards. He offered the idea of a joint committee between schools, local government, and others.

The movie had almost 50 hours of editing and four cameras. It includes a helicopter flight and as the Deputy stated, over six figures in production value with great assistance from SCHOPEG. Overall, the project has not cost taxpayers a dime. "It's all volunteer, it's all for the kids." He added that he hoped that a reduction in drunk driving could prevent people from having to hear about fatalities.

Opinion: On Tax Rates

By Matthew Avitabile

Earlier today I read some spirited comments about why New York State ranks first in the country in residents leaving. It's a topic I think about a lot and have seen constantly in my time in office.

There are some fundamental issues that drive the massive taxation the state is known for. Some programs are left on 'autopilot' by Albany while others are actively gouged by lawmakers.

I give Schoharie County lawmakers credit on certain aspects of tax policy. However, cumulative effects of fundless mandates from the state, mistakes of past boards, flooding, economic conditions, and more have made it a very difficult proposition. It seems even many that attempt to tame the beast are unable to even get their plans off the ground.

A little bit of background from where I'm coming from. Before I became mayor in 2012, our village tax increases were completely out of control. The previous twelve budget years saw taxes increase eleven times for a cumulative total of 53%, or 2.66% a year.

2.66% a year? That might not seem so bad. As a matter of fact, some years that is lower than the rate of inflation.

However, compound interest makes even that figure unbearable for many families. Those on fixed incomes, steady incomes, or just starting out can't afford the extra money out of their pocket.

As Einstein said, the most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.

We tightened our belts mightily. Our Village Board members took a pay cut for two years to help balance the budget and together with our current and previous Village Clerk did everything in our power to work on every single line of the budget. Many hours were taken trying to save even dollars. At one point while I was a Village Trustee I cleaned the office's toilets to save us $800 in costs.

We also understood that raising taxes on those that could afford it the least, especially right after the flood, would help drive out those on the margins. We knew that businesses couldn't be asked to give "just a little more" after mortgaging their future repairing flood damage.

Over the last five budget years we've increased taxes one time, just one percent. That was only because of the costs associated with a lawsuit. Before and after we didn't touch it at all. Zilch.

Part of the reasoning behind that was our effort to cut costs. That did work, and we did employ multiple elements of making more with less, such as new energy efficient lighting, new insulation in the sewer plant, and doing a lot of work (including most grant writing) in house.

However, there are other factors at play that can help lessen the tax burden for property owners. About half of our budget comes from that line item and the rest comes from an assortment of sources. About 5% comes from a cell tower contract negotiated by my predecessors and renegotiated by our board has been very positive. Cooperation with surrounding municipalities, community groups, and our local fire department has been wonderful and a key factor in driving down long term compounding costs.

There are efforts that our municipalities and county can do to lessen the tax burden. Such a burden is too high already and many efforts, including Governor Cuomo's tax cap, don't do enough to solve the underlying problems. Bringing business into this county and retaining all of our residents should be on the top of the agenda. I know it is for us in Middleburgh.

A Note from Our New Owner

Hi all,

This past week I've acquired the Schoharie News. My name is Matthew Avitabile. You probably have heard my name in my service as Middleburgh's mayor over the last four and a half years. I also teach history at both SUNY Oneonta and Cobleskill where I attended college. Local news has piqued my interest for a long time and seems to run in the family blood. I started talking to Mr. Tim Knight about possibly acquiring the Schoharie News, and here we are.

I've been fortunate enough to have Tim as a friend and appreciate the effort and dedication he put into the Schoharie News. His leadership is a high bar to reach and I certainly have big shoes to fill. I'll consult Tim for advice and hope to work with him on a role at the publication: at the moment he is working as a freelancer for our publication. I thank him for his insight and for setting such a good example.

Also being in public office, there may be concerns about a blurred line in this new role. That's why I'm not going to cover Middleburgh issues and will not be seeking another term as Mayor.

I am also looking for partnerships that would bring expanded and better coverage. I have brought upon several new team members to help bring our publication to success. Any press releases, tips, and news ideas are welcome. I am also considering all options and partnerships to build the publication further.

We'd like to use this opportunity to highlight many subjects currently not closely examined in local press. The Schoharie News will focus on hard looks at effects of policy on our residents, as well as the hardworking efforts of community groups to improve our area.

Sharon Harvest Fest this Weekend

Sharon Springs' famed Harvest Fest is taking place this weekend. The event, which often draws crowds into the thousands, will be the largest yet. An itinerary includes:

Harvest Feast at the American Hotel  – A 4 course dinner with Schoharie County Beverage Trail  incorporating their spirits/beer/wine into the menu. Call 518.284.2105 for reservations.
All Day – Beekman 1802 Farm Tours. Click here for tickets.
All Day – [Beekman 1802 Mercantile] Brent and Josh will be in the second floor showroom of the Mercantile all day signing copies of  books, magazines, and whatever else you put in front of them
All Day– ETSY Maker’s Village and festival vendors
All Day – (while supplies last)  The American Hotel will be serving fresh-from-the-Cape Lobstah Rolls and Clam Chowda on the lawn of the hotel
All Day- Spring House Spa will be giving chair massage in the yard ($1/minute!) and card readings throughout the day! Stop by for relaxation and insight.
All Day — tinsmith demonstrations of making tin icicles on the steps of the Cobbler & Co shop
10AM – Over 150 Vendors will open their booths scattered throughout the village.
10AM – “Etsy’s Makers Village” opens. Etsy takes over one of the streets in town to highlight the wares of some of their very best regional craftspersons.
High Noon! Tractor Parade! [Main Street] Line up to celebrate our farmers as they parade their new and antique models down Main Street (from Sharon Springs School to Sunnycrest Orchards.)
12:30pm – Become an Official Sharon Springs Honorary Citizen. [Chalybeate Park Pavilion] Show up to take the Oath of Honorary Citizenship, (and get spritzed by Mayor Doug,) to become an official, card-carrying, honorary Sharon Springs Citizen. (Super Secret ID Card included.)
3:00PM-  4:30pm Miss Sharon Jones!  screening [in the high school auditorium].  Seating is limited and is on a first-come first-served basis.  Screening is fee but donations are welcomed to support the renovation of the Klinkhart Hall Arts Center on Main Street
1PM – 1:30pm– Honey Tasting – Beekeeping and our Future [Chalybeate Park Pavilion] Beekman Honey Expert George Jersey shares fascinating facts about bees, and their impact on all of us.
2PM – Hard Cider Handbook [Chalybeate Park Pavilion] Local Hard Cider expert, Michael Guidice, shares the incredible history of hard cider in this region, and how it’s making a comeback.
4:00PM-7:00pm- Benefit Dinner at the Sharon Springs Firehouse (514 Route 20)– each year a delicious “D0ing It for Dodi”  spaghetti dinner is hosted to raise funds to battle ALS.  Community spirit at its finest

Harvest Feast at the American Hotel  – [American Hotel]  A 4 course dinner with Schoharie County Beverage Trail  incorporating their spirits/beer/wine into the menu. Call 518.284.2105 for reservations. Call 518.284.2105 for reservations.
8:00PM- 9:30pm Miss Sharon Jones!  screening [in the high school auditorium].  Seating is limited and is on a first-come first-served basis.  Screening is fee but donations are welcomed to support the renovation of the Klinkhart Hall Arts Center on Main Street

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 11.29.35 AM

Local Dining
Thinking about your dinner plans? Check out our amazing local restaurants (be sure to call ahead for reservations):  204 Main Bar & Bistro, or Sharon Tavern.

All Day – [Beekman 1802 Mercantile] Brent and Josh will be in the second floor showroom of the Mercantile all day signing copies of  books, magazines, and whatever else you put in front of them
All Day – Beekman 1802 Farm Tours. Click here for tickets. [Beekman Farm]
All Day– ETSY Maker’s Village and festival vendors [South Street]
All Day-  (11:00-3:30) Spring House Spa will be giving chair massage in the yard ($1/minute!) and card readings throughout the day! Stop by for relaxation and insight.
All Day — tinsmith demonstrations of making tin icicles on the steps of the Cobbler & Co shop
11AM – Chainsaw Carving. [Behind the Beekman 1802 Mercantile – outside] Watch the incredible craftsman Mike Page as he carves a beautiful bear sculpture using nothing more than his chainsaw. (you can see one of his carvings in the Mercantile as part of our ‘Go Wild’ theme)
Noon – Become an Official Sharon Springs Honorary Citizen.[Chalybeate Park Pavilion] Show up to take the Oath of Honorary Citizenship, (and get spritzed by Mayor Doug,) to become an official, card-carrying, honorary Sharon Springs Citizen. (Super Secret ID Card included.)
12:30PM– Mohawk Thanksgiving Prayer– [Chalybeate Park Pavilion] Join us for a Native American blessing of the harvest
2PM – Chainsaw Carving. [Behind the Beekman 1802 Mercantile – outside] Watch the incredible craftsman Mike Page as he carves a beautiful bear sculpture using nothing more than his chainsaw.
Harvest Feast at the American Hotel  – [American Hotel]  A 4 course dinner with Schoharie County Beverage Trail  incorporating their spirits/beer/wine into the menu. Call 518.284.2105 for reservations. Call 518.284.2105 for reservations.
Other area attractions to visit during the weekend: Cooperstown Farmers Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, Howe Caverns, Arkell Museum

More information can be found on the Beekman 1802 website.

Faso, Teachout Unveil Plans for Heroin Abuse, Gun Control

Written By Editor on 9/15/16 | 9/15/16

Congressional candidates Democrat Zephyr Teachout and Republican John Faso unveiled their plans for some of the most controversial topics affecting the region.

"I've laid out a plan, a strategy of education and enforcement." A topic where Republicans and Democrats can work together. He said that he's met many people affected by heroin, an "extraordinarily important" issue for the 19th District.

She stated that the "heroin crisis is devastated." She cited speaking to one father from Kingston that had a son that needed help kicking heroin. The father was unable to get insurance coverage for treatment and later overdosed. She said that she would work to reform insurance rules in order to expand coverage.

John Faso said that he supported the Second Amendment and would support people on terrorism watchlists from being unable to purchase guns only if there was a due process provision. He would not support universal background checks but instead supports stronger punishments for individuals that use guns in crimes. He said that the federal government should enforce existing laws rather than increasing gun control laws. Teachout stated that she supported universal background checks and banning individuals on the terror watchlist from buying firearms.

Faso-Teachout Congressional Debate Erupts in Fireworks

The scheduled debate between Republican John Faso and Democrat Zephyr Teachout was an interesting affair. Teachout spoke first, having won the coin toss.

The first question asked Teachout if her fundraising from billionaire special interest groups were in conflict with her pledge to get money out of politics. Teachout described the current campaign finance atmosphere as a, "Crisis of corruption" where "big corporations spend unlimited money in campaigns." She highlighted two contributions of $500,000 to John Faso's campaign from New York City. She said that one of the contributors, supported Common Core. She said she would "clean up Congress."

Faso stated that Teachout is raising "big money from all sorts of people connected to Super PACs." He also said that his opponent recently arrived in the district from Brooklyn in order to run for Congress. Faso said his roots in the Hudson Valley were deep, including his wife's role as a school nurse. He stated that Congress was a House of Representatives, not a House of Adventurers. Faso also said that he supported campaign finance reform. He criticized heavy spending to influence politics from George Soros, who is also donating to Teachout.

The next question discussed climate change. Faso said that "unfortunately this issues has been politicized." He said that climate change is real and must be mitigated. He cited a 20-25% reduction in greenhouse gases accomplished in New York. Faso stated that the country should begin an "all of the above" approach to energy. He claimed that his proposed policy would help small businesses.

Photo credit: WAMC
Teachout went next. She said that there is a "real difference" between her and her opponent. She cited her support of the fracking ban in New York state. She said that Faso is a supporter of the practice and has operated as a lobbyist for pipeline companies. She said she would "protect our water from the big polluters" in Congress.

Both candidates were questioned about term limits and if they would limit their service. Teachout stated that she supported limits and would serve five terms. She said she would focus on small businesses, stating "the real job creators have suffered." Teachout said she is against the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership, in common with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Like Trump, she also recommended renegotiating NAFTA. Teachout highlighted her experience in co-founding an organization to break up the big banks.

Faso also stated that he supports term limits. He also pledged to serve only five terms. He said he supports term limits for the state. He said that he has never been a lobbyist, although he did work as a consultant for Williams oil company in support of the Constitution pipeline. He opposes the Tennessee pipeline. He highlighted his endorsement from a national small business association. He supports a small business tax credit for capital expenses.

The next question was about the presidential level. Faso was asked why he did not endorse Donald Trump. He replied that he will keep his pledge to support the GOP's nominee but disagrees with Trump on multiple policies. He said he's running in the "model of Chris work across party lines." He followed, "A million people have left New York State in the last ten years." He supports a streamlining of New York law to have the state pick up Medicaid costs instead of the counties. He believes that this would reduce the local property tax burden. He said he had the experience to do so.

Zephyr Teachout replied by saying, "First of all I support Hillary Clinton for President." She said that she's always willing to be independent to succeed. She cited her 2014 independent campaign against Andrew Cuomo for governor. She said that she will "listen only to the people...and not big corporations." She also said that she felt local property taxes were too high. She said that when Faso was an Assemblyman, he supported tax increases 135 times. She said that he also missed 1,700 votes. "He's already had a chance to show what he'll do when he's paid to represent... he cashed out and became a lobbyist."

Teachout was asked about her recent move to the Capital Region. She said that she grew up locally in Windsor County, Vermont. She said that many of the issues are similar between the two. Teachout said that she feared that there would be a representative that would not represent the district. She said that she wanted to help parents opt-out of Common Core.

Faso denied having missed 1,700 votes. He said that he had a 97% legislative record. He said he missed some votes because he was at his wife's bedside while she was being treated for cancer. He said that Teachout's accusation was "below the belt." He cited that Teachout missed her own vote for her local school board election.

Faso bristled at Teachout describing him as a lobbyist, saying that one group that he lobbied for was the non-profit Autism Speaks, where he urged lawmakers to assist families with autistic children. "I have a serious plan to build the small business economy." He said that he would work against overregulation. He criticized Teachout's support of Black Lives Matter, saying that she called them "thoughtful."

Faso also attacked Teachout's alleged support of the Boycott Divest Israel movement. Teachout later said she was against the movement and was a supporter of Israel. She said that she was worried that North Korea could get a nuclear weapon. North Korea has had nuclear weapons for over a decade. She said that the U.S. had done enough to stop Iran from getting nuclear technology, and that the country should step up efforts to keep North Korea from getting nuclear weapons, an assertion which she reiterated. North Korea detonated a test nuclear weapon last week.

Teachout rebutted by citing Faso's opposition to same sex marriage in 2006. She said she supports "civil rights for all Americans." She also stated that she supported abortion rights and Planned Parenthood. She said she supports Zika funding and stated that Faso wouldn't.

Moderators were Dr. Alan Chartock of WAMC, WAMC's Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne, State Editor for Albany Times Union Casey Seiler, and Newschannel 13's Benita Zahn.

Hear the whole thing on WAMC.

Heroin Overdose Medication Training September 20th

The Schoharie County Alcoholism and Substance Abuse is holding a training for the medication Narcan. Narcan is intended to treat heroin overdoses. The event will include a wider discussion about heroin and substance abuse.

The training will take place next Tuesday from 6-7:30pm at 114 Lark Street in Cobleskill. For more information please call 234-8705.

For more information please check out the SCCASA Facebook page.

Next Addiction Group Meeting Sept 19th

The next meeting for those affected by drug and alcohol abuse will be held on Monday, September 19th. The meeting will be held next to Catholic Charities building at 483 West Main Main Street in Cobleskill. The meeting is held between 6:30 and 7:30. For more information call 234-8705.
More information can be found on the Schoharie County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse's Facebook page.

Hazardous Weather Outlook Today

Written By Editor on 9/14/16 | 9/14/16

NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for our area today. There is a chance of thunderstorms today into early this evening, ahead of a cold front. Some of the storms may produce gusty winds, especially areas south and east of Albany.

Stay up on the weather at our constantly updated weather page.

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